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Load testing and MyEd

One disappointment in the run-up to the new semester was that the upgrade to our university portal failed its load test.  In other words, when we tried running ithe new version with automated tests that simulated the number of staff and students who would be using it in real life, the time it took to display the login screen was too long to be acceptable. Hence we decided to delay the upgrade.

The good news is that we have found the cause of the problem and we have a fix. So we should be able to give staff and students the enhanced version sometime around the middle of the semester. 

An underlying point is that these tests are an important part of our quality assurance process. The portal is used every day by thousands of people and the poor performance we were seeing would have significantly affected their work.  We can take some satisfaction from the fact that we did catch the problem before putting the new system live.

Ideally we would have run the load tests earlier so that we would have had time to fix the problems and still deploy the new version on schedule.  Unfortunately this was not the first stumbling block that we encountered with this upgrade.  Some projects are like that.  It's not unusual to find some problems on any project - in fact it would be most unusual to have none at all - but there are some projects that seem to attract more than their fair share.

We will have a review of the project when is finally completed, with the aim of looking for ways of avoiding problems in future projects.  For example, one issue that we have already noted is that the way the portal technology handles groups of users is changing, and this change does seem to be related to the performance problems we were seeing.  This suggests that we will have to change our implementation to match the new way of working, next time we upgrade this technology.



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